Posts Tagged ‘WWE Smackdown Live’

WWE are now deeply entrenched in WrestleMania season, and while most of this year’s card still looks uncertain, one bout is guaranteed: the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

The match has become an annual staple since debuting at ‘Mania 30, and is now entering its fifth year. It’s usually treated as an afterthought, though. Victory in the Andre (which is often relegated to the Kickoff Show) did little for the likes of Cesaro and Big Show, but the bout’s lowly status could be about to change, according to PWInsider.

Apparently, WWE plan on giving the Battle Royal a significant spotlight at WrestleMania 34. This is primarily to hype the upcoming Andre the Giant HBO Sports documentary, which will premiere the Tuesday after ‘Mania. The company reportedly feel that if the doc draws a good rating, it could lead to more collaboration with the network and American sports pundit Bill Simmons, who is the man behind it.

Rob Gronkowski’s interference in last year’s ATG Battle Royal drew plenty of attention, but as usual, winning the match did little for Mojo Rawley. Will its increased focus yield bigger rewards for WrestleMania 34’s victor? Our fingers are crossed.

Advertisements

WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair was recently interviewed by The Mirror. Below are a few highlights:

During the early years of Raw you were one of the opposition, because you rejoined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) a month later and then went head-to-head with Raw on Monday Nitro. Did you used to watch both shows? Was the rivalry as fierce as people say now?

“Worse. I hated WCW. I’ve said it on record. Not the guys, but the way it was run. It was ridiculous. Literally, my prediction, I said they will kill themselves. And they did. You can’t go out on Nitro and say openly to Vince, ‘we’re putting you out of business’. He’s forgiven a lot of people.”

Do you think that approach turned fans off?

“Yeah. They wanted me to go out there and say that. I said ‘s*** no’ I’m not going to go out and say that. ‘I’m not doing it’. It’s one of the reasons me and [Eric] Bischoff didn’t get along. They wanted me to go out and put WWE down like Hulk [Hogan], Scott Hall and [Kevin] Nash and those guys were. Not a chance.”

[Vince McMahon] even hired Eric Bischoff as the general manager of Raw in July 2002 after WCW went out of business.

“I was really shocked. I wouldn’t badmouth WWE on air out of loyalty to Vince. I used to work for his dad [Vincent J. McMahon]. He’s forgiven a lot of people man, Bruno [Sammartino], the Ultimate Warrior, Kevin, Scott…”

How excited would you be to see Asuka face your daughter Charlotte, or as has been rumoured, Ronda Rousey to face Charlotte at WrestleMania. That would be a box office attraction.

“Oh huge. Ronda because Ronda gets so much exposure from ESPN as well, which we do a lot of stuff with. That’s why Brock [Lesnar] brings so much to the table, because Brock used to get so much ESPN stuff, which gives us an audience that might not normally watch it.”

If Ronda Rousey was to come into WWE, she couldn’t be in better hands than in a match with Charlotte.

“No. Charlotte will beat her when she wants to! Ronda better watch out. I can tell you this, Charlotte is not afraid of her in any way, shape of form. She is a lot bigger than she is. [5ft 10in to 5ft 7in and 144lb to 135lb]. She can deadlift 300lb and squad 250lb.”

Flair also discussed not having a WrestleMania match with Hulk Hogan in WWE, his big 1992 Royal Rumble win, Bobby Heenan and more. You can read the full interview by clicking here.

Stephanie McMahon recently spoke with The Times of India at this link. Below are highlights:

WWE working with Make-A-Wish:

“WWE is the most unique form of content in the world, we are a global media company and I think as long as long as we are fulfilling our mission of putting smiles on people’s faces world over, I think that is our greatest gift. To be able to help a child who is sick, make them forget that they are sick, even for a couple of hours watching the show and give that gift to their parents, to see that joy on their child’s face and even not so serious, just someone who is having a really hard day and can escape into the story telling and fun of WWE.”

WWE staying relevant with storytelling and staying on top with audience interaction:

“The real reason why WWE remains so relevant and continues to grow over the past 50 years, is we are all about storytelling – no different than a famous Opera, play, book or a Sitcom. It is protagonist vs antagonist with conflict resolution; the only difference is our conflict are settled inside a 20×20 foot ring with some of the great live action you can see in sports and entertainment. And when you have that connection with the audience, when audience is part of the show influencing the storytelling and you have larger than life, still relatable characters, the audience has the opportunity to engage and live their fantasy through these characters which is no different than any other form of media and that really is the secret to or our success.”

Triple H being responsible for the women’s revolution after WWE fans called for more athleticism, better character development and better storylines:

“In terms of WWE, Paul Leveque (Triple H) started recruiting elite athletes from all over the world, both male and female and he started training them the same way as men, he the same opportunity to tell stories in the ring, the same as men and what resulted was a huge ground swell of our audience chanting for our women and chanting women’s wrestling and ‘This is Wrestling’ and it really gave rise to the voice of our audience and they knew they could impact the content of our show.”

Source: Times of India

Shinsuke Nakamura spoke with ESPN earlier this week following his big win at the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view. The full interview is at this link and below are highlights:

The Rumble match win and fans supporting him during the match:

“I believe this is the biggest thing to happen in my career so far. That’s until WrestleMania this year which will be the biggest thing in my life.”

“I really felt the people behind me. You had (John) Cena, Roman, Randy (Orton), the biggest stars in the WWE and I feel like I’m a new guy, but the WWE Universe really supported me.”

His WWE NXT run and feeling like he’s at home now:

“When I came to NXT, I didn’t need to adjust. NXT fans are hardcore wrestling fans. I just had to wrestle and they reacted but when I got called up to SmackDown it was different. There’s just a difference in the live events. So last year I had to make an adjustment from NXT to SmackDown like others have done from NXT to Raw. It takes time to adjust but today I finally feel like I’m there. I feel at home. It’s hard to choose the words even if I was speaking Japanese. It’s hard to find the words.”

Facing WWE Champion AJ Styles at WrestleMania 34:

“One of the reasons to come to the WWE was to wrestle at WrestleMania, but to main-event WrestleMania? Wow! I live for this. I have experience wrestling Brock (Lesnar) and AJ, but I really think the people and the audience around the world want to see AJ and me. That’s the match everyone wants to see.”

Source: ESPN

Two months removed from relinquishing the United States Title and walking out on SmackDown, Dolph Ziggler has reportedly signed what has been described as a “sweetheart deal” with WWE.

This is according to The Locker Room podcast, whose host Bill ‘The Hacker’ Hamin claims that while ‘The Show-Off’ was close to legitimately leaving the company after the Royal Rumble, he has been convinced to stay after receiving “an offer [he] couldn’t refuse.”

Dolph entered the Rumble at number 30, but lasted just two minutes prior to to his elimination. He was totally ineffective, and this was because he “already had two feet out the door” before WWE’s last minute offer, according to Hamin. Now, he’ll be sticking around, and his new deal includes a couple of big provisions.

The first states that Ziggler will be allowed to leave after his matches, and won’t be made to hang around the arena, unlike other wrestlers. On top of this, WWE will now allow him to pursue outside projects on the grounds they don’t interfere with his wrestling schedule.

This sounds like an extremely favourable deal for a wrestler who’s spent the past few years treading water. We’ll likely hear more from Dolph on this week’s SmackDown, when he returns to face Baron Corbin.

WWE’s Mojo Rawley thinks its inevitable that Rob Gronkowski will make the move to professional wrestling once his football-playing days are over.

Rawley, who’s good friends with the New England Patriots tight end, hinted at the possible career change while chatting with TMZ Sports before Super Bowl LII.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” Rawley said, before adding, “I don’t know, I can’t speak for him.”

Gronkowski is under contract with the Patriots through 2019, but was noncommittal when asked about returning next season. There have also been rumors that he’s considering retirement to pursue a career in acting.

Ronda Rousey made her WWE debut at Sunday’s Royal Rumble PPV in Philadelphia following the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match, which closed the show and was won by Asuka. Rousey interrupted a post-match segment with Asuka, Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair.

Rousey came out and tried to shake Asuka’s hand but Asuka slapped her hand away. She also took a look at the titles before leaving the ring and shaking the hand of special guest commentator Stephanie McMahon. As the PPV went off the air, Rousey pointed at the WrestleMania 34 sign. Rousey is expected to receive a high profile match at WWE’s biggest show of the year, reportedly in a mixed tag match against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

Along with Lana, Natalya made an appearance on The Trend with Rebecca Granetand was asked if she thought Ronda Rousey should be given a top spot in the WWE, despite being new to the company. Ultimately, Natalya said Rousey is looking to bring more eyes to the WWE women’s division.

“We all do have different ways we could go about getting to WWE,” Natalya said. “Some of us have different backgrounds, I’ve been around wrestling my entire life, since I was a little girl, since I was born. Not everybody has that background. Not everybody was born into a wrestling dynasty. Lana’s journey is different, Ronda’s journey is going to be different and I think it’s situational.”

“With Ronda, yes, she absolutely does has to prove herself, but I know Ronda personally, I’m friends with her. Ronda has expressed that she more than anything wants to prove herself and she really wants to bring even more attention to the women of WWE, and I think it’s going to be incredible for all of us.”